Friday, November 23, 2012

Ride White Turns

Midnight Stupidity in Calgary Flying'J

____Day 1: The Gourmet Baker not only has icing on his cakes; he has it all over the yard as I go to deliver 20 tons of sugar on a Monday morning. Whilst being unloaded; I take the chance to clear a 40 foot stretch of concrete that will give me enough grip to launch me out of the sloping dock. Then its across town to the biscuit factory for a load of crackers; going to Pennsylvania. South to Wilson, Wisconsin for the night, away from all the snow and ice.

Errr Boss, there's a hole in the roof and I broke a mirror.

____Day 2: Only 13,500 lbs in the trailer; so it's good progress and good fuel consumption on the flat Interstates of Illinois and Indiana. Reaching Fort Wayne on the second leg of the 1650 mile trip.

Big-sleeper on a Volvo.

____Day 3: Busier traffic on Interstate 80 into Pennsylvania with west-bound convoys of utility company trucks coming from the States of New York and New Jersey. Electricity repair workers from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska returning home after helping out with the chaos that was caused by Super-Storm Sandy.

Winchester and Western Railroad Locomotives.

____Day 4: The Regional Distribution Centre at Nazareth is quieter that usaaul and I unload myself and am out the gate before my 08.30 booking time; that's a first. Then down into West Virginia for the reload from Martinsburg; 210 mile deadhead. If the out bound load was light; the reload of perforated plastic trays is lighter still; 8,000 lbs makes it seem like I'm pulling an empty trailer. Great weight to have when tackling the ups and downs of Interstate 68 across to Morgantown.

Cheap Truck-on-a-stick.

____Day 5: From Wheeling, on the western Ohio stateline, to Rochelle, Illinois. A three day trip down; a three day trip back is on the cards until the office asks if I can continue with the load. It's for an oil refinery in Edmonton, so good miles; plus, it's "Thanksgiving" in the States and next weeks  south-bound loads would be scarce.

____Day 6: Now I need to carefully plan my days so that I don't run out of driving hours. Ten hours a day is the limit if I want to complete the trip without a reset. Fargo for Saturday night after meeting up with Mr. Cooper at Wilson for the excellent $8.99 lunch-time buffet. The Searcy driver has his longest-ever trip; an oversize load to Florida, good miles at a good rate. But he's not happy; it's a Tuesday delivery and all he can think of is the up-coming national holiday and whether he will get reloaded before everything shuts down until the following Monday. Five November days in Florida would not worry me.

Clean Wheels reflecting a snow-scape.

____Day 7: Back into Canada and the colder weather; through Emerson, the local border. But I don't have time to go home and push on into Saskatchewan. Dafoe for the night.

____Day 8: Seven hundred kilometres takes me to the Flying'J at Sherwood Park on the eastern outskirts of Edmonton. It takes me to 7,200 for the trip so far; a good average.

B-Train grain hauler comes a cropper.

____Day 9: Entry to the oil refinery needs an orientation session at the main gate security post before  PPE [ Personal Protection Equipment] is inspected. My white hard hat is rejected; only supervisors wear white hats and I am given a red " loaner." Which is far more comfortable than my side-impact, top of the range, expensive white thing. It only takes an hour to discharge the light plastic sheets which are part of cooling towers internal structure. The reload doesn't excite me at all. Furniture groupage, two picks in Edmonton, three in Calgary before delivering the  load to Saskatoon. Edmonton and one Calgary pick-up before another Flying'J night-out.

Yanke's Turnpike-Doubles keep running on the ice.

____Night 9/10: Things go bump in the night and instinctivly I know that it is two trucks coming together. This is followed by shouting that is louder than the bang.  I get up. I am never happy when the truck is parked on the end of a line, especially at the exit of a busy truckstop and this was a close call to having severe hood damage. A rig was leaving and took a wide turn to avoid #31; so wide that a bobtail customized Peterbilt thought he would overtake on the inside. The sort of thing that happens with cars everyday but you don't expect another truck to do something as silly and in a truck-park. If the truck and trailer had kept on going it would have pulled the bobtail across into Flying Eagle #31.

____Day 10: The last of my pick-ups fills the trailer with mattresses; then it's off to Saskatoon on Highway 9 that turns into Highway 7 at Alsask, a town on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Where else? Snow flurries all the way that give an eerie feeling to the landscape; particually the dramatic dinosaur laden cliffs at Drumheller.
RCMP Upside Down : Must have been tricky road conditions.

____Day 11: Five hours of sitting on an un-loading bay would normally be upsetting but as it is blizzard conditions out-side my passenger window; I don't feel in any hurry to go to Regina. One o'clock in the afternoon and the snow has stopped; or rather, moved on from Saskatoon to Regina. Probably the worst conditions I have driven in seven Canadian winters. Half an inch of frozen rain, coated by four inches of snow, greet me on the outskirts of Regina. Delivery done and a crawl to the Trans-Canada Highway before things improve on the way to Brandon.
____Day 12: The furniture store doesn't open until 10 o'clock and an hour later I'm heading home; only to pulled up by a broken break chamber. A quick fix with a clamp on an air pipe and finally home on a trip that stalled at Edmonton, Alberta.

____Overall Distance: 9164 km.

Set of B-Train Tanks on the back of Kenworth Cabover.


  1. I bet the guy with the custom Pete was spitting blood over that stupid move!!!! All for a little patience!!!Great tails as always Chris!!:-)

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